Memorandum Opens Door for a New Market for Irish Energy
The signing, by the Irish and UK Governments, of the Memorandum of Understanding is another important step in opening up Ireland’s potential as an exporter of renewable energy. Ireland has the ability to export over 10,000 MW of energy to the UK and further afield, capitalizing on our natural resources and generating jobs and investment in our economy. The developers of the project widely recognized as the first mover in the energy export drive have welcomed the announcement. Speaking ahead of the signing, Brian Britton Managing Director of Oriel Windfarm stated;
“This agreement moves us significantly closer to the creation of an energy market spanning the UK and Ireland. Today’s move will allow the conditions to be put in place for trading of green energy between the UK and Ireland. Companies, such as Oriel Windfarm Limited, will have a market for their offshore wind resource as the UK addresses its climate change and energy security objectives.”
The Oriel Windfarm project is a 330 MW offshore wind farm in the north Irish Sea. The €900m project will consist of 55 turbines which will supply energy to 250,000 homes. Oriel is the most advanced of the offshore wind farms currently in planning around the coast of Ireland. Industry insiders estimate that the project can be operational by 2016, placing it at the head of the Irish companies seeking to export renewable energy to the UK. Construction on the wind farm will provide a significant economic boost to the region and the national economy. It is estimated that over 500 jobs will be created during the construction phase. The wind farm will support a further 60 jobs once fully operational. On an industry wide basis, it is estimated that 20,000 jobs can be created in Ireland by 2025.
The Memorandum will benefit the entire renewable sector in Ireland. However it is viewed as being particularly important to the offshore wind industry. The scale and reliability that can be achieved by offshore wind projects makes them more suitable for large scale export to the UK market. Ireland enjoys a relative advantage for developing offshore wind. Shallower water depths, more suitable sea bed conditions and a higher wind speed make Irish waters more cost effective for development.
The next step in developing this opportunity, according to Mr. Britton, is to put in place the trading mechanism which allows export of green energy to take place;
“The Memorandum is a statement of the intent of both our Governments. Intent must quickly become reality. We are confident that the measures to facilitate energy trading can be put in place. Much work has already been done between the Government Departments on both islands to advance this. Once this market mechanism is created, Ireland will be able to harness its unrivalled natural resources to create a new export market and to power our economic recovery.”
Oriel Windfarm Limited is an Irish owned and operated sustainable energy company established to develop offshore wind farms in Ireland. The company's first project is the development of a wind farm in the North Irish Sea.
The Oriel Windfarm will be the first fully operational commercial wind farm developed in Irish waters. With 55 turbines, delivering a total of 330 MW of clean renewable energy, this will be the ninth largest power plant in Ireland.
The Oriel Windfarm license area lies 22km off the coast of Dundalk, Co Louth, in the territorial waters of the Republic of Ireland. The company is headquartered in Dundalk. Oriel Windfarm is backed by business, professional and wind farm interests with proven track records in the sector.